There may have been some hiccups, like not being able to hear the speakers on the megaphone and typos in the information pamphlets, but Brisbane’s rally against mandatory ISP filtering did what it set out to do: generate some heat and raise some awareness.

Brisbane Square, December 13

Brisbane Square, December 13

Two hundred to three hundred people converged on Brisbane Square, opposite the casino, to protest the government’s plan.

Jasmine Marosvary, organiser and member of the Digital Liberty Coalition (DLC), told me the event was a success considering the high temperature.  As to whether the filter would go ahead, she wasn’t sure, but mentioned DLC has more awareness campaigns planned, including a March in March, a protest in Canberra in 2009.

To those who believe mandatory filtering will protect children online, Jasmine asks them to look into the issue more as filtering is not the answer.  She says parents may become complacent.

Sam Clifford

Sam Clifford

Greens member and speaker Sam Clifford (who thankfully published his speech online) said Stephen Conroy’s behaviour throughout this entire ordeal has been absolutely disgraceful.

“Senator Conroy has treated those who question him in the Senate with utter contempt; laughing as he rises to answer questions on notice and completely failing to answer said questions. Any time someone points out that what he has just said contradicts what he said earlier or that he hasn’t answered the question, he goes into sales pitch mode and talks about how the government is going to consult with industry to protect kids,” Clifford told the crowd.

“The best way to ensure kids don’t come across nasty stuff on the internet at home is parental supervision and education about how to use the internet.”

Protesters of all ages and lifestyles

Protesters of all ages and lifestyles

A young Brisbane lady I spoke with, a blogger and self-described ‘lolita‘, was concerned a filter could block sites devoted to lolita fashion given its name and alternative usage. She also feared that fan fiction, sites dealing with gay and lesbian issues, and online goth communities may also be blocked.

Shane, like many others who who attended the rally, was opposed to the plan because the Internet was the last bastion of free speech.

All in all, a variety of different people, protesting and speaking for different reasons, but all in agreement that filtering is bad for Australia.

Some people have criticised the protest for preaching to the converted and to some extent I agree, but it’s what protests often do. It’s the media coverage and public awareness that comes with them that benefits the campaign. Holding signs on George Street and handing out pamphlets may not bring down any Great Firewalls, but the coverage on Nine, ABC, SBS and in the papers was certainly worth a few hours out of our Saturday.

National and Brisbane blogger coverage:

David Jackmanson’s coverage. David spoke and helped organise the Brisbane leg.

Danny Yee’s speech from the Sydney protest.

Reflections from ‘No Clean Feed’ rallies

Ian Kath’s podcast of the event

Ash’s report and pics

Nikki Jensen looks at the rally from an event manager’s POV

– Tiara’s thoughts on the Aussie net filter

Scott Ludlam in Perth

Geordie Guy’s Sydney photographs

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